HR & Management

How to write a great job advert

5 min read

12 August 2014

A job advertisement, unless it’s for a well-known brand, is the first impression that candidates will get of your business. It is therefore crucial that your company’s advert makes a good impression at the start of the candidate journey.

The advert must attract quality talent and to do so it must paint an accurate picture of the role, specify the experience and traits you require from your future employee and entice the reader to apply by highlighting what sets your role apart from similar roles at other companies, in order to encourage candidates to make the next step.

The headline

When advertising a job online, consider the job title or simple headline that your intended candidate is likely to search for. This will maximise the chance of candidates finding your advert and attract higher levels of traffic.   

The job title being used internally in your business might differ from how candidates would refer to it, or not commonly used in the wider industry. Without a relevant job title, your position might not be found by prospective candidates, or in the event that it is found, confused candidates may click away from the page. Ensure your advert can be found and will attract attention from the people you want.

Don’t recycle

If your recruitment campaign is based on an existing role the easy option is to re-use the last advert which may well have proven successful. Although tempting, the chances are the job and the industry will have evolved considerably. Instead, start from scratch to create a brand new job advertisement that is fresh and contemporary.

Who is writing the job advert? 

Do not fully rely on your HR/Recruitment department to create a job advert. Although they can offer valuable guidance on what content will attract candidates, if they are not working in the role you are recruiting for they are only basing the core content on what they believe the role involves.

 The prospective line manager should be involved in the creation of the advert, and any input from an employee currently in a similar role will be extremely valuable. This added input will ensure that the advert accurately describes what the role involves.

Build interest

Before you finalise your job advert, consider the reader experience. Your advert should not be an exhaustive list of tasks the role involves; instead, make it an overview of the role itself. It is important to avoid listing too many requirements as candidates who may not tick everything on that list may not apply, meaning you may lose an otherwise perfect candidate. 

The advert must engage and excite candidates whilst reflecting company and brand values – ask a number of different people in the business to read it and gather opinions and feedback.

Detail the salary and package

Include a salary bracket in order to attract the right level of candidate for your business. By not specifying salary, you are potentially wasting time reviewing applications from candidates of all levels. Save your time – and theirs – by setting the expectation at this stage. 

Don’t forget to detail added benefits that may entice candidates to apply: is there a bonus, car allowance, gym membership, or free parking? Let the reader know by detailing added extras – each candidate is motivated by different benefits.

This is the start of the recruitment lifecycle; getting the initial job advert wrong will prevent a successful and smooth running recruitment process. Follow these steps to create the best possible job advertisement to represent the role and your business.

Sarah Mandeville is recruitment manager at Gekko and has been with the company since 2010. Sarah has managed large scale field marketing recruitment campaigns for leading technology brands. Having experience in both in-house and agency recruitment Sarah has recruited at all levels for SMEs and global organisations.